Thursday, 1 November 2012

Google AdSense: A List of Pros and Cons

It’s common knowledge that Google AdSense is easily one of the most widely-used online advertisement services in the world. It allow you to easily monetize your online content by letting you put up targeted text, image or video-based advertisements on your blog/website, and be able to generate revenue from these ads on a per-click or a per-impression basis.

A large chunk of blogs and websites out there on the internet (millions of them!) are using this service to monetize their online efforts and earn money from AdSense. Granted, there are a whole bunch of alternatives available out there as far as putting ads on your blog or your website goes, however AdSense remains on top and beats its competition by a clear mile! It is therefore not surprising when one learns that Google earns more than one-fourth of its revenue though AdSense!

The reason why it is the most widely-used advertisement network and the market-leader is that AdSense is superior to many of its competitors in many different ways; it provides certain advantages that none of the other ad networks offer. At the same time, it does come with its set of shortcomings and limitations as well.

A Case for AdSense

Here are some of the advantages of using AdSense over the other advertisement networks out there:

1. Simple and Easy to Set-up: AdSense is extremely simple and straightforward to set up. All it takes is filling out a simple form and wait for approval (which can take a few weeks). Other ad networks, unfortunately, don’t make this process as simple; some require you to fill in long-winded forms or make phone calls, making the application process unnecessarily-complicated.

2. No Restrictions: Quite a lot of the ad networks out there have you fulfill certain criteria (such as minimum levels of site traffic) before you can apply for them, or put certain location-based restrictions as well. There are no such restrictions or requirements when it comes to AdSense. Anyone – even small websites that don’t get a lot of traffic – can easily set AdSense up and start using it.

3. A Large Variety of Ads: With AdSense, you have a large variety of ads to choose from – contextual ads, text-links, banner ads and other image-based ads, flash advertisements, video ads, and many more. You can choose what kind of ads you would like to show up on your website, and since you have many different ads types to choose from, the ads blend into the design of your website easily.

4. Targeted Ads: One of the best aspects about AdSense is that the ads displayed on your website are extremely targeted and relevant to the content of your blog. A lot other ad networks do not display targeted ads, even though they claim to do so, putting up ads that are totally irrelevant to the content and the subject matter of your website. Targeted or relevant ads will allow you to monetize your blog in a better way and maximize your earnings.

5. Large Base of Advertisers: The reason why AdSense is easily able to serve targeted ads is that it is backed by a large base of advertisers – probably the largest out there! No matter which niche you’re in, what topics you write on and what the theme of your blog is, AdSense will almost always be able to serve relevant ads on your blog.

6. Payouts are Good: In my experience AdSense provides the best payout rates in the industry. It easily offers the best earnings out there, which means more money in your pocket for the same amount of effort. AdSense earnings also remain fairly consistent.

7. Monetize Traffic from All Over the World: Another distinct advantage that AdSense has over all its competitors is that it lets you monetize traffic from all over the globe – local and international. If for instance your blog gets international traffic (almost every website on the internet does!), AdSense will allow you to monetize that. This is also the reason why AdSense is able to offer the best payout rates; most of the other ad networks will either not allow you to monetize this traffic, or their payouts will be extremely low for traffic from outside the US/North America.

8. Reliability: AdSense is, in my opinion, extremely reliable when it comes to payments, which is understandable since it is a product of Google. You’ve got a multiple number of payment methods to choose from (depending on your location), and payments are always sent on time, and made in full.

A Case against AdSense

In order to provide readers with both sides of the pictures, and a fair view of how AdSense functions, here is a list of some of the areas where it falls short:

1. Exclusivity: One of the best downsides when it comes to AdSense is the ‘exclusivity pact’ that you sign with it. What this means is that signing up for AdSense bars you from using any other ad network out there.

2. Low CPMs: While I mentioned earlier that the payout rates with AdSense are better than their competitors, they’re still quite low. Google refuses to publicly share the percentage of revenue they give to publishers and ad partners, however just about every other ad network makes this information publicly available.

3. Minimum Payout Level: Google has a minimum payout level, and usually pays you once you reach that amount – which is $100 at the time of writing. You are then paid every time you reach or cross this threshold, and it can be incredibly frustrating if you’re just a few dollars short!

4. Ban-friendly: Google AdSense is often accused of being extremely ban-hammer-friendly; if it detects any fraudulent clicks or illegal activity on your AdSense account – through your own fault or unwittingly – you will be immediately disqualified from the program and banned, withholding any remaining payments as well. This often happens without any warning signs whatsoever, and there have been plenty of incidences where webmasters and bloggers have been banned even though they themselves weren’t involved in any fraudulent activities (or at least they claimed not to be).

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